Let's talk strategy

AI discussion, ideas, and SDK help.
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varoadstter
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Let's talk strategy

Post by varoadstter » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:17 pm

Hi.

I'm hoping to start a series of threads that are centered around strategic concepts as they relate to Lux. The end goal is to have my bot actually execute its strategy (or even multiple strategies) using the same principles that humans use. Here's what I have in mind:

I propose a game environment (map, opponents, continent bonus, teams, etc, random/picked starting countries, etc) and walk through the game. At each couple turns, give an updated environment until ultimately the game ends.

What I'd like from the community is for you to attempt to verbalize what you as the player would do in the situation and the reasons why you would do it (not including stuff like "I hate this guy so I suicide him"). I have built in enough situational awareness knowledge into my bot that I believe it will actually be able to play in a very similar way to the way a human plays, and perhaps better. Ultimately, I want to capture big picture concepts and tactical nuances that can be translated into code to produce a truly world-class opponent that doesn't irritate it's human opponents but still provides a stiff challenge.

Are you with me?

Let's start with the basics:

Map: Classic
Players: 6
Continent bonus: 10%
Card progression: 4,6,8...
Teams: none
Goal: win

You get to pick first, what territory do you take?
Why did you take it?
What is your "plan" for picking the reamainder of your territories?
At the end, how will you judge whether or not your starting position is good/great/terrible?

Go...

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3DA
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Post by 3DA » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:45 pm

Wow - we're starting back at choosing countries? :)

In 2500 games of online Lux and many more offline, I've never started any map, ever, where I chose countries. A few games I've played I've chosen where to place my armies, but never countries - and I started avoiding games where you choose where you place. It takes a whole section of fun out of the game. The random start is king here in online Lux.

But, since we're talking about it: I would absolutely choose Brazil. From where I am now, I feel that South America is a super strong continent in classic; easy to hold, only directly attackable from Africa and North America (where other players are holed up in defense mode and therefore not all that interested in letting other players blast through to kill you), but with guaranteed access to at least two other players (and one away from Europe) if you want to try for a kill.

If we're talking about a game where you choose all your countries, I would definitely nail down South America first; get as many countries as I could there. Then, when they are all chosen, look at Australia: if it's empty (slim chance), go there; if not, then start choosing in Asia.

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varoadstter
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Post by varoadstter » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:51 pm

Ok. Why did you choose SA as your target (and then AUS and Asia)?
Once you get a starting position, can you judge if you have a good setup or do you need to have all initial armies placed before it can really be judged?

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Post by The Wontrob » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:07 pm

i second SA as strongest starting continent on classic

to add to 3DA's reasoning, almost EVERYONE, holding a continent or not, in a good 6 human classic game, needs a decent force in asia. thats where farming for cards happens, and it also allows you to hit every other continent (except SA). and since at least one person ends up with no continent, holding a decent force in asia (and hopefully somewhere else too) is a must

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Post by 3DA » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:46 pm

varoadstter wrote:Ok. Why did you choose SA as your target (and then AUS and Asia)?
Uhm, I chose SA for the reasons I listed above. :)

I said that if I were picking countries I would go for Aus next - but only if it were WIDE open, which is highly unlikely. In the event that the other players were exceptionally blind and did not fill up Aus, I would go there. If you can hold Australia and South America, you get the same income as Europe with only 3 borders, and much better position.

But that is a very, very long shot.

Realistically, Asia comes next because of what Wontrob said: that's where you have most of your forces so you can make a kill anywhere on the board.
varoadstter wrote:Once you get a starting position, can you judge if you have a good setup or do you need to have all initial armies placed before it can really be judged?

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varoadstter
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Post by varoadstter » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:10 pm

3DA wrote:
varoadstter wrote:Ok. Why did you choose SA as your target (and then AUS and Asia)?
Uhm, I chose SA for the reasons I listed above. :)

I said that if I were picking countries I would go for Aus next - but only if it were WIDE open, which is highly unlikely. In the event that the other players were exceptionally blind and did not fill up Aus, I would go there. If you can hold Australia and South America, you get the same income as Europe with only 3 borders, and much better position.

But that is a very, very long shot.

Realistically, Asia comes next because of what Wontrob said: that's where you have most of your forces so you can make a kill anywhere on the board.
varoadstter wrote:Once you get a starting position, can you judge if you have a good setup or do you need to have all initial armies placed before it can really be judged?
Yeah, you did give your reasons why. Somehow I didn't quite get it all first time around.

I find the concept of having an attack force in Asia intriguing conceptually. I can definitely see some advantages from doing this as you're far less likely to be card locked if you keep a mobile force stationed in a lightly contested area of the map - offers good flexibility. I might have thought to just concentrate power around my continents but I'm far more likely to get card locked and have to undergo some expensive battles that I could have easilly avoided. Cool.

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Post by Dominator » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:37 pm

Another reason its good to have a remote in asia is to separate your forces. If all your men are concentrated in a single continent it is easier for someone to kill you in a single sweep. By splitting up your armies you are protecting yourself and making it harder for opponents to kill you because of blocking and other armies that could be in the way.

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Post by 3DA » Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:45 am

Varo, you should come and play some Classic online to get a feel for the game. In particular, you should play a little with my man Dominator (see above comment.) He's one of the best around. I learn stuff when I play against him. Welcome to the thread, Dom!

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varoadstter
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Post by varoadstter » Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:37 am

Why bother to learn how to play if you swell guys will tell me what I need to know!? :twisted:

Seriously, I have played a number of games offline and have begun to dabble in online. My biggest problem with online is not wanting to look ridiculous. I know I'm terrible but I respect those that have skillz. Over time, out of sheer curiosity I'm sure I will wade deeper and deeper into it.

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Post by 3DA » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:53 am

Feh, don't worry about looking ridiculous. Everyone does at first. There are plenty of players online - me, nimrod7, C-rex, others - who care more about having fun than who wins. But if you're concerned about it, that's cool: just watch a few games and chit chat.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you around. :)

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Post by Drifter » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:14 am

varoadstter wrote:Why bother to learn how to play if you swell guys will tell me what I need to know!? :twisted:
Because Lux, as it should be, is a chatroom with a game in the background.

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Post by Packman » Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:58 pm

Drifter wrote:
varoadstter wrote:Why bother to learn how to play if you swell guys will tell me what I need to know!? :twisted:
Because Lux, as it should be, is a chatroom with a game in the background.
I believe you mean "S&M chatroom"*

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Post by Kef » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:36 pm

Only when the vixens are around

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